INTRODUCTION TO OIL TECHNIQUES

Oil Painting Classes Birmingham
 

Introduction to Oil Painting Class Birmingham

I’ve so often heard art students say how much they’d like to try oils, but don’t really know where to start, or feel too intimidated to try them.
The Intro to Oil Painting Techniques course, located in the beautiful surroundings of the Birmingham Midlands Institute, aims to gently introduce you to the materials used in oil painting and to show you how accessible and beautiful a medium it can be.
Once you try oils, you’ll never go back!

On the course itself I’ll get you familiar with using oil paints and mediums. I’ll show you how to make your own mounted canvas frames (canvas is notoriously expensive, so why not prepare your own?).

We’ll learn to prime your canvas for painting, how to do an underpainting in monochrome, and the technique of  ‘fat over lean’.
I’ll show you how to lay out an organised palette, work with limited colours, lay down a tonal groundglazing techniquesvalue studies, and of course the basics of colour mixing itself.

We’ll be setting up still life’s that are stimulating and contain drama. We’ll be looking at how to tackle a landscape, portraits, the benefits of studying a Master copy painting, and painting the figure using this most versatile of mediums.

The 10-week course will cost  £250 in total (any returning students receive a discount), which can be paid in two instalments after confirming your place with a deposit of £100.

Unfortunately, I can only offer a maximum of 10 places for each class, so please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

 Although the course is suitable for students who have never previously tried oil painting, some basic knowledge or experience of painting, in general, would be beneficial. 

All basic materials will be provided, including easels, brushes, palettes, and paints. Although a personal sketchbook is certainly not mandatory, I recommended it.

Oil Painting Course Dates

Wednesday evening 10 week course (18:30-21:00):

Start date- See booking page

End date- See booking page

Oil painting is seemingly feared by some artists and seen as a kind of alchemical approach to painting, where only the true sage-like artists have access to it. This is false. Let’s look at it in a bit more detail and answer some common questions…

Why use oil paint?– The main difference between oil and other painting mediums is drying time. Oil dries slowly, giving the artist plenty of time to mix colours. More time equals more control over your mixes. Oil is naturally glossy, so colours are more vibrant and vivid, even when dry. Whereas watercolour and acrylic look duller when dry.

Is oil painting complicated?– No. It’s the most forgiving medium of all, as you have lots of time to make corrections. I think one of the reasons that people have come to think of oil as complex comes from a time when the materials and mediums were scarcer.

Once upon a time artists had to source their own raw materials, go through the laborious process of grinding them down and turning this into a paste that would be used as paint.

Also, it’s not a water-based medium, so some people immediately shy away from it. The difference with oil is you substitute water for an oil medium, which thins the oil and makes it more fluid. Oil painting is not more complex than other painting techniques, it’s just that the possibilities of the medium are vast.

Is oil paint toxic?– In some regards it can be considered unsafe if you’re not using any common sense. Oil paint consists of oil and pigment combined. As long as it’s not swallowed, it is safe.

Again, the reputation for its toxicity comes predominantly from a time when some of the components of oil paint included lead, mercury, and sulphur! Safety issues stem mainly from the solvents used. However, the worst offender, turpentine, is not used in class.

Instead, I use a thinner called Zest-It, which is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and smells of citrus fruit. It is a great alternative to ‘turps’, and is used to thin paint, and to clean brushes at the end of the session.

What materials do I need?– All I ask is that you bring in an old rag to clean/wipe your brushes whilst painting. This is more of a practical issue than an absolute necessity. When you’re in the midst of a painting, it is beneficial to have a rag at hand to wipe off any excess paint. Otherwise you have to find tissue or kitchen towel which takes you out of the flow of painting and becomes too much of a distraction.

All other materials are provided, which include easels, boards, brushes, palettes, brush-holder tubs, paints, mediums, thinners, and paper.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I choose a class or workshop?

Easy! Just go to the 'Book an Art Class' section of the website and choose between the different types of course on offer and which day and time suits you best. It's a clear, step-by-step process from there. All courses are currently online via Zoom.

I’m a first-time art student ― what class should I take?

That all depends on what kind of materials you want to use. The Drawing and Painting Techniques course will introduce you to a number of different materials and approaches, which will include pencil, charcoal, pastel, acrylic, ink, and mixed media. You can go at your own pace and it is generally assumed that you are a beginner.
Whereas the Intro to Oil painting class focuses exclusively on painting with this beautiful medium, it is also certainly suitable for beginners as well.

The life drawing classes are suitable for anyone and are also held online via Zoom

Is there a break during the class?

Although I often begin a class with a demonstration, especially if I'm introducing a new technique, students are free to make a hot drink at any time. There are no specific breaks, just go and help yourself! During the longer life drawing online Zoom classes I schedule a short break halfway during the art session.

How do I register?

You can register by going to the 'Book an Art Class' section of the website, choosing which course suits you best, and following the step-by-step instructions all the way through to payment. You will receive a confirmation email after you have booked.

Are materials included in tuition prices?

Indeed they are for all venue art classes. I supply almost all the art materials for these, however for the online Zoom art classes, students must source their own and a 20% discount applies. The only thing I ask students to bring in for the venue 'Drawing and Painting Techniques' class is an A3 drawing/painting pad.
As for the 'Intro to Oil Painting' course, I supply everything except I ask students to bring in an old rag so as to wipe your brushes while you paint.

What happens if I miss a class?
Please contact me beforehand if you cannot make a class, then we can try and swap it with a Thursday or Saturday session instead (if there is a space available). Unfortunately, due to demand, any missed classes cannot be carried over into a new semester.
Where will the classes be held?

The venue itself is in the centre of Birmingham, just off Victoria Square, located in a stunning grade II listed building surrounded by beautiful Georgian architecture. The Birmingham and Midland Institute, is an institution concerned with the promotion of education and learning in Birmingham, England. One if its early presidents was Charles Dickens. Currently due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic all art classes are held online via Zoom.

How long are the courses?

The 'Intro to Oil Painting' course runs for 10 weeks consecutively. The Drawing and Painting Techniques course, in its entirety, will run for 12 weeks. The Life Drawing Classes also run for 12 weeks.

Is there Parking?

Metered parking is available around the BMI building on Margaret Street and Cornwall Street. Alternatively, car parks are available at the following locations:

BMI Parking

Great Charles Street Car Park

Ludgate Hill Car Park

Snow Hill Multi-Storey Car Park

Lower Lionel Street Car Park

Once I have completed the course can I book again?
Students often book on the courses again, and are of course most welcome to do so. Each semester follows a similar structure, but I often introduce new techniques and exercises.
How is each art class structured?

I usually begin a session with a demonstration of the new technique I will be introducing that day, followed by a warm up exercise for the students. Then students can explore the theme we are working on at their own pace.
I always provide plenty of feedback and individual tuition if needed.

Art Courses Birmingham Testimonials

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I really enjoyed the recent 12-week art techniques course. We used Zoom, in view of the current coronavirus lockdown, and this worked very well. Peter is an excellent teacher and gave us plenty of individual tuition, adjusted for our various levels of experience. I hadn't ever done an art course, but I was very pleased with the range of techniques which I started using during the course. This has started me on a new hobby, and I am looking forward to taking another of Peter's courses.

Andrew Herborn

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I did the Art Techniques class on Zoom. Peter is an excellent teacher, . We had immediate feedback as well as detailed feedback on completed pictures emailed after the lesson. I am relatively new to drawing and painting, and apart from learning a lot, had a lot fun as well. I enjoyed it so much ... I registered for Peter's ' Introduction to oil painting ' class starting in September also on Zoom.

Moira Herborn

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This course was a lifesaver for me and provided a wonderful opportunity to develop my oil painting skills. The expert instruction and demonstration delivered with such ease by Peter made the whole experience so enjoyable. Too much information I will need to enrol on a future course to process this one! Thank you Peter.

Mary Blackall

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I wanted to draw and paint all my life, particularly as this was not part of school in India at the time! So I waited until I retired and joined Peter’s class. I have had the opportunity to try different mediums and techniques. I even dared to draw in a museum setting with Peter’s encouragement. I have enjoyed learning and continue to do so because the atmosphere in the class is very informal and relaxed. I never thought I would be able to draw and paint but with Peter’s help, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Peter is a passionate, interested teacher

Dr. Prema Iyengar

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Art is a challenge, a pleasure and a struggle. It is also rewarding and a creative escape so a wonderful antidote to stress. Since joining Peter’s ‘Painting for Pleasure’ group in 2015 I have experienced all of the above. But above all, my knowledge and skills in pursuit of progress have been nurtured, nudged, directed and guided by the most skilful approach and ‘light touch’ of Peters’ tutorledge. He invites you to join in his passion and delight of colour and ‘mark making’ whilst exploring art through the ages, both classical and contemporary styles, but above all through the sheer pleasure of ‘having a go’! The atmosphere Peter creates is supportive and inclusive of all abilities. He knows how-to guide, lead, and deliver what can be a challenging subject and is able to do this with skill, humour, experience and passion. All the ingredients, in my opinion, of a much-valued teacher

Lynette

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I initially contacted Peter to have one to one painting lessons which were absolutely great and I learnt so much. He then told me about the Saturday painting classes he runs in St Paul’s Church and I just had to check it out! From my first visit till today I am so amazed by the space in which we get to paint. The church itself is such an inspiration. Peter allows us through his own demos and guidance to try out new styles of paintings. Each week is a different style and I look forward to having a go (not always feeling confident to start but as there are other painters in the same position we all have a good time trying it out!) There are weeks when I just want to do my own painting and Peter has given me tips on how to do that. So the classes are what you make them too! I absolutely love my Saturday painting class and highly recommended it to anyone wanting to paint, whether it be for the first time or someone who feels like they don’t have the time or space at home. It’s given me back my love of painting. I’ve now got the time and space to do it and have met some great people to paint with. Thanks Peter!

Vas

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Peter’s classes are perfect for the novice. Everything is provided. You are only asked to bring a rag to wipe your brushes or take excess paint off the canvas. He takes the time to explain the materials and how to get the best out of them, setting tasks that help you explore and get used to oil paints and how they work. In the first few weeks, he also teaches how to stretch canvases and mix colours. Everyone is allowed to work at their own pace and he encourages each person with advice and guidance to help them achieve the best results and gain in confidence. I would highly recommend his classes.

Gill

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Peter is an inspiration and has a wealth of knowledge on skills and techniques gained through his ongoing work as a professional practising artist. I now totally embrace oils as my weapon of choice – what a fantastic medium! All this is down to, firstly Peters recommendation I should try oils and then his enthusiasm and guidance. Id recommend his classes unreservedly!”

Gareth

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I have been doing lessons with Peter for over one year. Learning with him is quite fun but effective at the same time. Although he plans the topic for each lesson, he is quite flexible and allows people to go at their own pace. He is also happy for students to develop their own work during lessons if they prefer to, while helping them with comments alongside. He always looks at the work I do outside of the lessons when I email them and gives his views and suggestions on how to improve them. Thanks Peter, very much appreciated.

Shikha